Mirrors have long been associated with the truth, whether it’s Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised showing people who look into it their sincerest wishes, or the magic mirror on the Evil Queen’s wall that tells her Snow White is the fairest of them all, leading to all kinds of trouble.

This connection is made clear in the lyrics to a very popular song written by Marco Antonio Solis: “El espejo no miente,” which is Spanish for “the mirror doesn’t lie.” Another way to put it is that a mirror only reflects the truth.

Lucky for us, when we have dogs, we have our own living mirrors that are there for us all the time.

If you want to know what kind of energy you’re projecting to the world, just look at your dog. If you’re calm and assertive, they’ll reflect that by being calm and submissive. If you’re not, then they’ll react accordingly. If you’re uncertain and anxious, they’ll either try to take over or become fearful and insecure. If you’re overly excited or angry, they may react aggressively or they may hide from you.

The image you want to see in your furry mirror is calm, but you can only get that if that’s the look you’re giving in the first place. And remember what I said about mirrors being associated with truth? The same is the case with dogs. They cannot lie. Their energy is always going to give away their state of mind.

What we don’t realize is that while it can be very easy for us to lie to other humans, we can’t lie to our dogs, at least not with our energy. Sure, you can “lie” by doing that “pretend to throw the ball” thing to make your dog run after nothing, but all that’s going to do is quickly teach her to not trust you, and who wants that? You cannot lie to a dog otherwise. You can give her the biggest smile in the world while you’re feeling sad about something, and she’ll see right through it.

However, none of this is a negative about dogs. Exactly the opposite: This ability to be our mirrors is one of the greatest gifts that they can give us. It’s instant and honest feedback, and the kind you may not get from other humans.

If your dog is acting a bit off and it’s not due to illness, then there’s something off about you, and your dog’s behavior is your signal to start looking to see what the issue is. Maybe you’re tense and haven’t realized it. Maybe you’ve been in a bad mood. Or, the opposite, maybe you’ve been too happy and excited. Whatever the cause, you’ve got a four-footed therapist right there to help you spot it.

Once you look at your dog as a mirror, you can begin to use him as another tool: a level. And what’s the whole point of a level? To find that place in the center, where nothing is leaning too far to one side or the other. That’s called balance, which comes from finding the symmetry between both sides; in this case, you and your reflection — your dog.

When your dog reflects well on you, you’re the one who’s found balance — and that’s the truth.

Stay calm, and keep reflecting!

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